Image courtesy of Level Crossing Removal Project
As part of the Victorian Government’s AUD2.4b (NZD2.5b) initiative to improve public rail safety, 50 dangerous and congested level crossings are being removed across Melbourne. The Caulfield to Dandenong project removed nine of these level crossings on the Cranbourne to Pakenham Line as well as:
- Rebuilt five train stations along the line with new modern facilities (Carnegie, Murrumbeena, Hughesdale, Clayton and Noble Park stations)
- Upgraded signalling and power along 72 km of track
- Created 11 MCGs worth of new public open space
Collaborating for Success
Working as an Alliance, Lend Lease, WSP, CPB Contractors, Aurecon and Metro Trains Melbourne delivered this project on behalf of the Level Crossing Removal Authority. Our role included the detailed design and construction phase design services. For the tender design, we delivered a sustainable, robust and cost-effective solution, using BIM technology to provide visualisations of the project through 3D models. By doing so, we created an innovative design that maximised open space.
This modern solution provided:
- Nine km of new rail
- Five new stations
- Over 12 km of continual pedestrian and cycle paths
- 225,000 square metres of linear park
Our design replaced the nine level crossing with ‘rail-overs’, where the rail line is elevated above the existing corridor. By designing the line this way, we separated the road and rail and eliminated major barriers separating communities.
Designing for Minimal Impact on Community and Environment
Other benefits of our design scheme included:
- Decreasing disruption to the communities along the corridor during construction by using prefabricated components
- Avoiding the need to excavate approximately 300,000 m3 of spoil and truck this material on local roads
- Reducing the number of truck movements (by up to 70,000) when compared to an open cut trench solution
- Speeding up the completion time
- Removing the need for compulsory acquisitions of houses or parks
- Creating new station precincts with safer access for bus and car drop-offs
- Integrating retail and gateways to new open space
- Introducing water efficiency initiatives and improved stormwater management
- Avoiding the high-water table along the corridor as well as existing in-ground utilities crossing the corridor, in particular: the Murrumbeena water main, 66V transmission at Poath Road, telecommunications services at all road crossings
Designing for Construction
Our design allowed for one new elevated track to be built on either side of the existing track pair. This design aligned the track precisely in the gap between existing tracks and the property boundary. It meant the new viaduct could be constructed while trains were running and without any land acquisition.
We used a carrier gantry for construction, which was a first in a residential environment in Australia. We also worked with the operator to reassess the traction braking force to reduce extreme cases mentioned in the Australian Standard. This meant the project required less piling and slender viaduct columns.
Designing for Operation
On average, trains operate along the railway eight metres above the existing ground level and stations are elevated at 10 m above ground level. This assists with reducing traction power consumption as trains brake uphill into stations and accelerate downhill out of stations.
Our design uses superior componentry, previously unseen on the Melbourne network, including a Vossloh concrete trackform that requires less maintenance and offers higher reliability.
Designing for Noise
The acoustic design team developed a new noise policy for the project, which will be used in future for level crossing removals projects.
Designing for the Community
Our design reflects community feedback, which indicated a strong desire for more green space in the project area. The innovative design of an elevated railway allows direct use of the land beneath for recreational purposes as a linear park.
The use of two structures allows for light and rain on the linear park and reduces the visual bulk for both park users and the adjacent community.
Creating Lasting Benefits
The project opened in early 2019. Caulfield to Dandenong is one package of the program to remove 50 dangerous level crossings throughout Melbourne by 2022. Some of the remaining projects will use a similar rail-over methodology.
As well as reducing congestion, the project will improve safety for drivers and pedestrians, reunite communities and create lasting benefits such as new open space and art, cultural and sustainability features.